Being able to swim is considered an essential life skill . The benefits of becoming a proficient swimmer are endless, not to mention the safety aspects.
It is recommended that children learn to swim as early as possible. Speedo has introduced its Sea Squad range which is ideal for helping introduce children to the water in a fun and relaxed manner.
Below, Newitts outlines some of the reasons why swimming is such a vital part of a child's well-being:
- Children need to learn to swim to keep safe. Drowning is one of the most common causes of unintentional injury-related death to children aged 1-14.
- We come into contact with water every day, so it's important to make sure children feel comfortable in and around water.
- Swimming is the ideal sport to keep children healthy and active and its generally very easy on the body in comparison to other sports.
- Swimming promotes teamwork skills - children learn how to support their teammates, a skill that can be used throughout life.
- Swimming can also be an individual challenge, teaching children about self-motivation and goal setting.
- Swimming can be of huge benefit to children with developmental disabilities - it can improve family connections and releases endorphins which can quickly lift the mood of a child.
- Swimming is a skill your child will have for the rest their your life, improving their physical and mental health.
Stages of learning to swim
The ASA Learn to Swim Pathway is the national syllabus used to help teachers deliver swimming lessons to a high and consistent standard. The all-inclusive programme takes swimmers through 4 specialised Frameworks, starting with the basics and ending with advanced skills for sports such as water polo or diving.
The programme begins with the basics of learning to swim and ends with advanced skills for sports such as water polo or diving. There is also a Framework for teaching adults to swim. Babies and toddlers aged between 0-4 years old will learn the 'Foundation Framework' which helps to build a foundation for a lifelong love of water.
When children turn 4/5 years old, they will begin the 'Learn to Swim Framework', the most widely recognised part of swimming lessons for primary school aged children. It is made up of 7 stages based on producing confident and able swimmers using fun and enjoyment to engage learners.
Each Framework contains stages and a certificate and/or badge is used to reward children when they have completed a stage successfully. The Learn to Swim Framework contains seven stages with clear targets for the child to meet so they can move on to the next stage.
Children are taught to swim using four strokes: front crawl, back stroke, breast stroke and butterfly as well as being taught a number of additional skills designed to give them the ability to do a range of other water-based sports.
Introducing a child to water
Its recommended that children are introduced to water from an early age. Some of the exercises you can perform to help your baby or toddler get used to water include the following:
In the bath - get your child used to the feeling of water on their head by filling up a cup and gently pouring it over the hair, then letting it gently cascade over the face too. Do this as regularly as possible.
Take them to a warm pool - babies cannot regulate their body temperature as well as adults, so find a swimming pool that has warm water to help your baby to feel relaxed and comfortable from the outset and prevent them from getting too cold.
Get into the water - always get into the water with your baby. Not only is this the safest option, carrying your baby skin-to-skin and interacting with them in the water will help make the baby feel safer and therefore more relaxed.
Flotation aids - flotation aids and float suits are great for toddlers and older children, but will give babies a false sense of security and will keep them in a vertical position; a horizontal position is better suited to babies for swimming.
Make it fun - while you're in the water, sing songs or play games to keep your baby entertained. Keep smiling and talk or sing in a soothing voice, especially if your baby is reluctant to be in the water.
To help make your child's experience in water as fun and relaxed as it can be, take a look at Speedo's Sea Squad range to find the ideal swimming accessories and swimming aids for your child.